God of Rock Review – A Rhythm-Fighting Game Hybrid That Needs Polishing


Fighting and rhythm games are not genres typically blended together, but the recently released God of Rock remedies the issue with visual and gameplay elements that combine fighting game reflexes with rhythm game precision. Players familiar with titles like osu! or Guitar Hero will be rewarded for correct, steady button presses but must also adapt on the fly. The character’s special moves and abilities alter note charts and speed so that no song will ever be the same.

Unpredictable gameplay and memorable, lighthearted character designs that pay tribute to rock legends are standout strengths. The title, unfortunately, is held back by its clunky and cluttered design and limited selection of music tracks. Ultimately, God of Rock brews up a clever mixture of gameplay influences, but rhythm games and fighting games might be dishes best kept separate.

A Spice of Spontaneity in Rhythm Gameplay 

The traditional rhythm gameplay loop emphasizes meticulous perfection, which is why God of Rock’s emphasis on chaos and improvisation feels very refreshing. Gacha music titles like Hatsune Miku: Colorful Stage have experimented with multiplayer modes, in which various players complete the same song with minimal interaction. In God of Rock, you are performing a vicious duet.

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As you time your button presses to the notes rushing across your screen, directional inputs may be performed to unleash special attacks that completely change your opponent’s game. Clearly inspired by the fighting game genre, these moves use a meter that charges over the course of the song.

Various effects, like the addition of a flurry of notes, or an alteration in the opponent’s note speed, distinguish the abilities possessed by the game’s cast of characters. While not as explosive as fighting game combos, these abilities will get your adrenaline pumping, as a torrent of notes fills up your screen from your opponent’s special. 

Responsive Interactions Between Player and Opponent

Within God of Rock, players do not interact solely through specials; your hit points decrease when you perform moves better than your opponents, hitting notes closer to the perfect time. The result is refreshingly dynamic rhythm gameplay as the player is constantly provided feedback on their performance based on their HP. Difficult sections of songs can become absolutely crucial to play well if you are behind in the battle.

Adding to the complexity of this unpredictable experience, songs do not have set endpoints and will loop until one player has been defeated. The difficulty of songs increases as battles drone on, adding to the chaotic competition at the heart of God of Rock.

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Little additional touches, like the ability to counter enemy special moves with a more powerful move of your own, show that the developers put thought and care into translating fighting game elements into the rhythm game format. Yet the rhythm elements haven’t been neglected, either; the game’s charts feel accurate, fun, and fair, across a very wide range of difficulties.

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Strong Original Compositions that Grow a Touch Tired

Yet breaking the mold is not always a positive, and God of Rock lacks some gameplay features rhythm gamers might take for granted. The unpredictable, multiplayer-focused style is not for everyone, and this title fails to deliver that gradual sense of song mastery you receive through single-player rhythm gameplay. Additionally, the special moves are not incredibly diverse in their effects; the game proves that there are only so many ways to change an opponent’s note board.

Critically, the soundtrack includes original music from a variety of genres which is well-suited for the game’s fast-paced action, but the absence of licensed music proves an absence difficult to overlook. The prominent use of motifs and focus on instrumentation in the soundtrack keeps a player’s focus on combo moves, while working well with the potential for tracks to loop. Many of the songs are fun to listen to, but the heavy emphasis on quick guitar riffs does prove a bit tiresome when you put hours into the game.

Clunky Menus and UI Distract from Gameplay

Another noticeable lack within God of Rock is meaningful customization. Rhythm game players are prone to spend an incredible amount of hours staring down at note boards. And accordingly, many games allow for very useful visual changes, like the color of the notes, their speed of travel, and the appearance of the board. God of War lacks these options, which is a greater detriment because of the game’s suboptimal visual interface.

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The majority of the player’s screen is devoted to animations of the characters in combat, which nestles the note boards towards the bottom of the screen. Tiny compared to all of the other visuals on the screen, this note board demands a player’s full attention. It is indeed difficult to look between your HP bar, the animations, and the notes, because of the distance between each.

A larger note board would be appreciated, with a better visual design to allow the player to appreciate the animations. Recent rhythm games have done a fantastic job of integrating vertical note boards with animations of characters dancing and singing, so God of Rock’s decision to use a horizontal board proves a puzzling one that prevents enjoyment of the game’s solid animations.

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Fun and Diverse Character Design with Impactful Animations

The cast of fun, eclectic characters attack and use specials in animations with plenty of personalities. The animations are very short and fast, serving to punctuate tough moments in songs with a barrage of blows, as intense environments like a volcano add to the overwhelming atmosphere. The character designs are over-the-top, like the King, meant to stand in for Elvis. 

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An Arcade Mode is also available to set up backstories and the game’s basic premise, in which a silly reward, like impressing a mother, is promised to a character if they can impress a demon known as the God of Rock. The comic book style presentation of these backstories is fun and whimsical, suiting the game’s very light emphasis on story.

Enjoyable banter between characters starts each match, but a player is left wanting to know a bit more about these characters, and to experience them in gameplay options outside of Arcade and multiplayer. 

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God of Rock Hits the Right Notes, but it Needs More

God of Rock is a game with strong fundamental ideas. The character designs, animations and voice work are enjoyable, and the title implements a smart blend of rhythm and fighting gameplay through the hit points system and combo attacks. Unfortunately, these elements don’t come together perfectly.

The awkward placement of the note board distracts from the animations, while the lack of story or character customization prevents the interesting protagonists from reaching their full potential. The original music in God of Rock is quite enjoyable but must compete against the extensive soundtracks of other rhythm games, with access to licensed songs. Ultimately, this is a game that can’t quite orchestrate its fascinating ideas and gameplay decisions into a seamless melody.    


This review is based on a Steam code provided by the publisher. God of Rock is now available on Xbox One, Series X|S, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, and PC (Steam).

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God of Rock Review – A Rhythm-Fighting Game Hybrid That Doesn’t Quite Live Up to Either Genre
God of Rock Review A Rhythm Fighting Game Hybrid That Doesnt Quite Live Up to Either Genre

God of Rock is a promising blend of fighting and rhythm games, but lacks the polished gameplay content that would allow its compelling cast and mechanics to shine.

Operating System: Xbox One, Series X|S, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, and PC (Steam)

Application Category: Game

Editor's Rating: